Govt. empowers Police to enforce S.O.E. orders

The Government has amended the orders of the coronavirus pandemic State of Emergency (S.O.E.) to allow the Police enforce it to the “full extent of the law.”

This includes giving a Police Officer the power to serve an offence notice and enforce the law on a person or people deemed to have violated the S.O.E. orders.

The amendments were announced on Thursday night.

 “Mandated by the amended State of Emergency Orders signed into law today (Thursday) by His Highness the Head of State, Tuimaleali’ifano Va’aletoa Sualauvi II in consultation with Cabinet and pursuant to Article 106 of the Constitution, police officers are afforded the legal authority to enforce the Emergency Orders to the full extent of the law,” the statement reads.

Police Commissioner, Fuiava Egon Keil, said it is not the Police intention to arrest or to lock up anyone, or groups of people.

During a press conference, he pleaded with members of the public to stay home and avoid public gatherings. 

He said that while the Police have the power to arrest, he does not want that to happen.

He called on everyone to cooperate and heed the instructions from the Government so that everyone can be protected.

He also reminded that S.O.E. orders have become necessary given the gravity of the COVID19 pandemic situation around the world. 

The amended orders have also now prohibited all fishing boats, and any other vessel from entering Samoa.

“Ship access to Apia wharf is limited to trade and petroleum; fishing boats and all others are prohibited until further notice, and the Ministry of Health is required to continue with the approved medical clearance of all involved.”

The amended S.O.E orders read:

  1. National fasting and prayer:

A national period of fasting and prayer is to be observed by every family in Samoa from Sunday 22 March 2020 until Sunday 29 March 2020 from 6.00am – 12.00pm daily.


  1. International travel, planes and ships:
  2. Except in exceptional circumstances with Cabinet approval, starting from 12am of Thursday morning, 26 March 2020, all international travel to and from Samoa by plane are ceased.
  3. Ship access to Apia wharf is limited to trade and petroleum; fishing boats and all others are prohibited until further notice, and the Ministry of Health is required to continue with the approved medical clearance of all involved. 


  1. Public gatherings:
  2. There shall be no public gathering of more than 5 people at any public place. 
  3. There shall be no public gatherings of any sort which include but are not limited to:
  4. Church gatherings;
  5. Sports events;
  6. Entertainment gatherings.
  7. All nightclubs, bars, theatres, bars attached to restaurants or hotels, or any other public place people accustom for social gatherings are to be closed.
  8. All people are prohibited from gathering at airports or wharves unless it is for permitted travel.  
  9. All owners of restaurants are:
    1. prohibited from opening to customers for dining in; and
    2. permitted to provide customers with food to take away, for consumption away from a public place (at home). 


  1. Public transport:


  1. The operation of public transport such as buses and vans that carry more than 5 people are prohibited.
  2. Operators of public transport that carry 5 people or less are permitted to 

continue operation. 


  1. Effective from 12am of Thursday morning, 26 March 2020, travel for passengers between Upolu and Savaii cease. This does not include ferry travel for trade and Government services.


  1. Markets and supermarkets:
  2. The Savalalo, Fugalei, Salelologa, Vaitele markets, and all other flea markets or any market which the public have access to:

(a), are only permitted to open from 6.00am – 4.00pm after which a curfew will be in force from 4.00pm to 6.00am daily; and

(b) every person is required to return home by 4.00pm and is not permitted to sleep overnight at any marketplace.

  1. Opening hours for all supermarkets is from 6am-4pm, until further notice.  


  1. Street vendors
  2. There shall be no selling of any goods beside roads, street, culverts or footpaths.
  3. Children selling goods in public is strictly prohibited. 


  1. Schools:
  2. All schools are to close until further notice. 


  1. Access to Health Facilities:
  2. All persons of the age of 60 and above are to remain at home and must not move out and about in public, unless he or she is seeking medical attention at any health facility. 
  3. All persons are prohibited from accessing any health facility unless he or she is seeking medical attention at any health facility.
  4. A person that is admitted to the hospital may:
    1. only have one carer to tend to him or her; and 
    2. only be visited by 2 people at any one time. 
  5. All patient care intended for travel overseas under the Samoa Medical Treatment Scheme are hereby suspended until further notice. 


  1. Restriction for Government services:
  2. The Public Service Commission (“Commission”) is to determine conditions in which employees are to continue working under, with the objective of ensuring minimal spread of infection.
  3. The Commission’s conditions shall apply to all Government Ministries and Public Bodies. 
  4. All Government trips overseas are hereby suspended until further notice. 


  1. Ministry of Health duties:

The Ministry of Health shall ensure to implement awareness programmes for the prevention of the spread the Covid-19. 


  1. Samoa Police Service:

The Samoa Police Service shall implement this Order. 


  1. Special Powers of Government Chief Executive Officers:

All Chief Executive Officers of Government Ministries and Public Bodies are empowered to exercise their statutory functions, duties and powers provided under any legislation, or administrative functions for the implementation of the Sector Preparedness and Response Matrix Consolidated for Corona Virus Pandemic.


  1. Emergency Order Offence Notice:
  2. A police officer may serve an Emergency Order Offence Notice on a person who has committed an offence to which this Emergency applies.
  3. A Notice under this Order shall be in the form approved by the Commissioner of Police. 
  4. A person who has been served with a Notice may elect to pay the fine stated in the Notice within 24 hours of the issuance of the Notice. 


  1. Penalties 
  2. A person commits an offence where the person does not comply with any of the above orders, attracting the following penalties: 
  3. a fine of:
  4. for an individual, a fine of $200 for a first offence, and a fine of $500 for a continuous offence; or
  5. for an organization or corporation or similar such legal entity, a fine of $5,000 for a first offence, a fine of $7,000 for a continuous offence; or
  6. detainment not exceeding 3 months; or
  7. both detainment and fines prescribed under paragraphs (i) or (ii).
  8. The payment of a fine under this Order, shall avoid any further prosecution for the offence stipulated in the Notice issued under Order 13.
  9. Where a person is convicted of an offence under these Orders, he or she shall be liable to a fine not exceeding $10,000.00 or imprisonment not exceeding 12 months, or both.  


  1. Financing:

The financing of the implementation of this Order shall be funded by the appropriate budget approved by the Government.


The Emergency Order 3 issued on 24th March 2020 is revoked.  



Bg pattern light


Subscribe to Samoa Observer Online

Enjoy access to over a thousand articles per month, on any device as well as feature-length investigative articles.

Ready to signup?